Album Review: Broods – Conscious

Broods Conscious

Sibling pop duo Broods hail from my hometown of Nelson. I’ve seen them play once, opening for Ellie Goulding in Wellington. They showed promise at the time, but their sound seemed incomplete. Not bad, but just needing a bit more to boost their sound.

Broods rose of fame on the strength of their debut song “Bridges”, which seemingly garnered international attention overnight. When news broke that the pair had teamed up with Joel Little, the producer behind Lorde, it seemed inevitable that Broods would go far.

While the debut eponymous EP, and following album Evergreen were strong, the solemn and ethereal feel didn’t always grab the listeners attention. Conscious, by contrast, has some stronger tracks that get in your face.

Take, for example, lead single “Free”. Georgia draws us in with a strong acapella, before the industrial beat and the haunting wail solidify the song. It’s edgier and more anthemic than their previous material, signifying a stronger new sound for Broods.

Whether darker, punchier, or more upbeat, most of the songs on this album sound like a musical step up from previous works. “Are You Home” sounds reminiscent of Naked and Famous, with a very “Punching In A Dream” sounding intro, and an overall feel that would sit well on a pulsating dancefloor. Likewise, “We Have Everything”, “Full Blown Love” and “Hold The Line” are infectious and fun.

There are some big players of the pop world adding their touches to the album. “Heartlines” will draw the inevitable Lorde comparisons, seeing as Yelich-O’Connor herself helped to co-write this track. It features one of the more memorable choruses of the album, although with all the radio play it receives, of course it’s more likely to remain in your head. Tove Lo also makes an appearance in “Freak Of Nature”, a tender ballad more reminiscent of the older Broods sound.

As Broods have blown up, they have needed to step up their game to justify their popularity. Conscious ushers in a fuller sound, with multiple layers of production really fleshing out mix to make for a more gratifying listen. Gone is the bare synth/vocals combo, with the industrial style drumming and gorgeous multi-level sung harmonies making a welcome impact. The closing title track showcases this best, with Kanye-esque synths, and a chanting choir making the song sound immense.

This second Broods album is bigger, bolder, more deliberate sounding, and more, well… Conscious.

Joseph James

Live Review: Ellie Goulding at the Wellington TSB Arena

Ellie Goulding Broods

Ellie Goulding

w/ Broods

TSB Arena Wellington

Monday 9 June 2014

Brother/sister duo Broods proved to be an ideal choice as tonight’s opening act. It was a homecoming of sorts for the two, who, along with their drummer, played a half hour set of sparse synth based music that complemented Goulding’s electropop brilliantly. Although the sampling sounded a bit weak to start with, once the mix improved they played a suitably dynamic set. Broods is quite a departure from the siblings’ previous band, The Peasants, and judging from crowd reaction they could well follow down the path just recently paved by Lorde.

If Broods gave a taste then Goulding gave the full combo deal, demonstrating how well the style of music can be played with a full band. Goulding herself proved adept on both guitar and drums, showing her to be more than just a pretty voice that can gyrate across a stage. She started off strong with hits like ‘Figure 8’ and ‘Starry Eyed’ before changing down a gear to a stripped back song. She then stripped it back even more for a short acoustic set of songs with just guitar or piano for accompaniment. An Elton John cover preceded a lull in the set but the pace picked back up eventually, providing more opportunities for the crowd to move about.

From there on in it got better and better, with Goulding appearing more comfortable to “be silly” onstage, as she told us in her polite English accent. The audience in turn seemed to receive each song better than the last, until the band finally concluded with the song ‘Burn’.

This is one of the better setups I’ve seen at this venue. The stands at the rear were set up, making the arena appear fuller. The lights and screens were impressive. Goulding had the goods. Enjoyable and diverse, she demonstrated that an excellent concert can be put on without the overly excessive price of admission that her popstar contemporaries charge. She has the voice, the charisma and the stage show without the diva attitude to match.


Joseph James